|World Watch List Rank||32|
|World Watch List Score||64/100|
|Leader||President Bidhya Devi Bhandari|
|Population||29.5 million I 1,279,000|
|WWL Rank in 2019||32|
|Persecution Level||Very High Persecution|
In Nepal, evangelising is illegal and Christians can be arrested for attending a baptism. Christian children are often mocked by their peers, while adult believers face challenges in their personal relationships and workplace. Some Hindu extremist groups see Christianity as a threat and have bombed churches and attacked believers. Despite this, the number of people coming to faith is on the rise.
All Christian communities in Nepal are experiencing some form of persecution, but at varying levels of intensity. Roman Catholic churches and churches where foreigners gather experience the least problems. Converts from Hinduism are put under most pressure as they are viewed as deviating from the faith of the ancestors. Converts and Protestant churches are particularly under pressure from family, friends, community and local authorities. From time to time Hindu radicals take advantage of the ongoing political instability by attacking Christians. Most of the time they get away with impunity.
There are also some legal restrictions at the national level. The 2015 Constitution declares that Nepal is a secular state, however it also clearly specifies that conversion to any religion other than Hinduism is not permissible and is in fact a punishable offence.
Nepal is a land-locked country, wedged between India and China, and its politics are deeply divided. Despite all the problems, however, Nepal is slowly making progress: the economy is gradually improving, the enormous poverty is disappearing little by little. And Christianity is growing rapidly. Radical Hindus are worried about this, because most converts to Christianity come from Hindu background.
A few incidents of persecution that came to light in the last couple of years are from June 2016 when eight Christians were arrested on evangelizing charges, but they were acquitted in December. In late December 2016, four Christians were convicted and sentenced to five years in prison under the charge of witchcraft. In April 2017 the Catholic Dhobighat cathedral in Kathmandu was set on fire. In general, though, it does seem that Christians are becoming an increasingly recognized minority in Nepal and since May 2017 Christians have been elected to local bodies.